Though Canada's Mary Spencer didn’t win an Olympic medal at these past Games, she can be seen as a true ambassador and role model for female athletes everywhere. As Covergirls, Mary and the United States’ Marlen Esparza, another female boxer, demonstrated that there is more to beauty than the stereotypical Hollywood imagery of a skinny model. There is beauty in strength.
Though I do find it slightly problematic that a woman who has proclaimed not to wear makeup all that often (“When I'm competing I don't wear makeup, and I'm training or in the gym quite often… For the most part I go for a natural fresh look,” – Mary Spencer) is now hawking it, I believe in this case, the good outweighs the bad. Yes, it is quite ridiculous to think these women spend time before their workout putting on mascara and lip-gloss. However, these women, with all their muscles, are being portrayed as beauty role models to the world, as women that a girl could strive to become. Gone are the days of only models being Covergirls – today, the brand celebrates a variety of bodies, and I believe that including these two female boxers is a great step forward.
Young women in typically masculine sports are under pressure to celebrate their feminine side, or risk being ridiculed and labeled as a lesbian. Though it’s pretty obvious that the sport you play doesn’t define your sexuality, it is still an issue faced by women coming up in more masculine sports, especially those who are more muscular and less stereotypically ‘feminine’. Perhaps by celebrating the beauty in strength with the wide audience Covergirl reaches, there will be less focus on how feminine an athlete is, and more emphasis on her ability to go citius, altius, fortius.
Check out Mary and Marlen’s commercials and tell me what you think.